Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt wins World Press Photo of the Year Award

The World Press Photo Foundation announced the results of its renowned contests, the 61st annual World Press Photo Contest and the 8th annual World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest, at its annual Awards Show in Amsterdam.

The jury of the 2018 Photo Contest selected Venezuelan photographer Ronald Schemidt’s image as the World Press Photo of the Year.

The World Press Photo of the Year

The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year.

The jury, chaired by Magdalena Herrera, awards the prize to Ronaldo Schemidt’s picture entitled ‘Venezuela Crisis’–which also won first prize in the Spot News Single category. The image shows how José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) on fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. Salazar was set alight when the gas tank of a motorbike exploded. He survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns. Schemidt (b. 1971) is a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse, based in Mexico.

Magdalena Herrera, director of photography Geo France and chair of the jury, said about selecting the World Press Photo of the Year:

"The photo of the year has to tell an event, that is important enough, it also has to bring has to engage and has to show a point of view on what happened in the world this year."

She describes the winning photograph:

“It’s a classical photo, but it has an instantaneous energy and dynamic. The colours, the movement, and it’s very well composed, it has strength. I got an instantaneous emotion…”

Jury member Whitney C. Johnson, deputy director of photography National Geographic, also added:
"It’s quite symbolic, actually. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to sort of represent not just himself and himself on fire, but sort of this idea of Venezuela burning."

Jury member Bulent Kiliç, chief photographer Turkey Agence France-Presse, also added:
“And there is one small detail in the picture. There was a gun on the wall. It reads “paz’. It means peace. That also makes this picture stong.”

Jury member Eman Mohammed, photojournalist, also added:
“It just gives you that sense of more power to the people. To the ones who speak out.”

Also nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year are (in alphabetical order by photographer):

Rohingya Crisis
Patrick Brown, Australia, Panos Pictures, for Unicef

Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived. - Aisha, age 14.
Adam Ferguson, Australia, for The New York Times

Witnessing the Immediate Aftermath of an Attack in the Heart of London
Toby Melville, UK, Reuters 

The Battle for Mosul - Lined Up for an Aid Distribution
Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times

The Battle for Mosul - Young Boy Is Cared for by Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers
Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times

New announcement process this year
The foundation announced the nominees in each category of the Photo Contest, the Digital Storytelling Contest, and the six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year on 14 February. All winners, including the World Press Photo of the Year, were revealed at the Awards Show in Amsterdam.

The 2018 World Press Photo Contest

    The contest is free to enter and drew entries from around the world: 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted 73,044 images. A total of 42 photographers from 22 countries were awarded in eight categories.

    A group of internationally recognized professionals convened in Amsterdam to judge all entries. The jury is independent, and all entries were presented to them anonymously. A secretary without voting rights safeguards the fairness of the process, which is explained in full here. The staff, board, and partners of the World Press Photo Foundation cannot direct the jury’s decisions.


    The premier award, the World Press Photo of the Year, carries a cash prize of 10,000 euros. In addition, Canon presented the winning photographer with a selection of camera equipment. Find out more information about Canon.

    Nominees have their travel and lodging paid for by the World Press Photo Foundation to Amsterdam so they can attend the Awards Show and the World Press Photo Festival, an event taking place 13-14 April featuring photographer presentations, screenings, and talks. They also receive a diploma and a Golden Eye Award at the Awards Show.

    2018 Exhibition

    The prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 100 locations in 45 countries and is seen by more than 4 million people each year. The winning pictures are also published in the annual yearbook, which is available in multiple languages. The first World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 opens in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, on 14 April 2018. Find out more about the exhibition in Amsterdam.

    This year’s exhibition displays will be printed on Canon large-format and Arizona flatbed printers. Please see the Canon website for further information.

    The 2018 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest

    The Digital Storytelling Contest rewards those producing the best forms of visual journalism enabled by digital technologies and the spread of the Internet. The contest is open to digital storytellers, visual journalists and producers, with submissions that include the work of a professional visual journalist.

    Gallery of all 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest nominees

    This year 308 productions were submitted to the contest: 149 Short Form, 63 Long Form, 68 Immersive Storytelling and 28 Innovative Storytelling. 12 productions were nominated in the 4 categories.


    Nominees in each category are invited to the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam. A representative from each of the nominated productions has their travel and lodging paid for by the World Press Photo Foundation. The winners in each category receive a diploma and a Golden Eye Award, presented during the Awards Show. The prize-winning projects are assembled into an exhibition that travels to select locations.

    Photo credit: Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse